The sale of local retail chainOmar Effendiappeared to have been finally resolved in late September, after the owners,Trade Holding Company (THC), agreed to the sale of 90 per cent of the state-owned company's shares to Saudi Arabia'sAnwal United, in a deal worth£E 589.5 million ($102 million). THC will retain 10 per cent.
The approval came after Anwal agreed to invest£E 180 million ($32 million) in the company's branches, to settle Omar Effendi's debts, worth£E 155 million ($27 million), and to pension terms for Omar Effendi's employees. The sale was delayed after a Saudi-based local businessman tabled a late offer of£E 2,000 million ($350 million), but failed to provide the necessary documentation.Omar Effendi is the country's largest chain of state-owned department stores. Anwal has committed to continuing Omar Effendi's activities and is prohibited from selling two sites a landmark building in Cairo and a protected branch in Alexandria. The chain recorded four years of net losses before posting a profit of£E 2 million ($350,000) in 2005 (MEED 8:9:06).